10 Awesome Outdoor Workouts in Los Angeles to Up Your Energy (and Shed the Quarantine 15)
Weary of solo Zoom workouts with your laptop and your cat? Want a community of fellow sweaty exercisers minus the anxieties over indoor coronavirus transmission? Opt for one of the many outdoor workouts on offer (including spinning, CrossFit, yoga and running) where you’ll benefit as much from being outside in the fresh air as from the actual ab work. But make no mistake—teachers at these outdoor workouts in Los Angeles are just as demanding as ever, and it's way harder to fake like you're actually pushing your limits when you've got an instructor giving you side-eye (which is especially noticeable when they're wearing a mask).
1. Track Coaching in Santa Monica
The bi-weekly meetup of Coach Richard Rucker evokes a house party, a fire drill and a track meet. Rucker, the 30-year veteran coach of UCLA's track team, has widened his gaze to help people of all ages with their fitness. On Wednesday afternoons and Sunday mornings in Santa Monica, be a part of his side hustle Fitness With the Quickness, in which he dons a mask and leads a diverse group of athletes from middle school children to college competitors to weekend warriors. It's an hour of training that might have you running sprints on the sand, doing endless reps of leg lifts or a jumping a set of mini-hurdles. Beware: Coach's affable demeanor belies a hawklike talent for spotting when you're trying to skip the last few reps, and he'll be happy to call you out, tough-love style. And you'll love him all the more for it. (Text Rucker at 818-457-0039 to find out the group's location on the day you join.)
2. Rooftop Reformer Classes in West Hollywood
Mat Pilates, we love you. But nothing compares to the challenge of toning and stretching on the Reformer, a set of pulleys, straps and moving parts that, together with the watchful eye of an instructor, keeps our form correct (belly pulled in, shoulders back, legs stretched—you know the drill) so we're not injured. Speir Pilates is currently offering one morning and two afternoon classes on its roof, for five students at a time. These are the studio's signature Power Reformer classes which blend the precision of classical Pilates training with focused training techniques (warning: it’s fast-paced). Masks are optional while you're actually grunting on the machines, which are six feet apart, but mandatory once you're off the Reformer.
3. Hot Spin in Toluca Lake
Beginning August 24, Sweat Cycle is starting a new and super-smart scheme to work out safely. The studio has not only loaded 30 bikes outside, each eight feet apart under an awning, but it also is requiring worker-outers to purchase their own silent disco headset that they will use to follow along with class. And here's the genius part: Sweat Cycle is grouping riders together like an enrollment, so the same group will be riding together for four weeks, with no walk-ins or drop-ins permitted. Finally, the trainer bike has a clear partition in front of it. So if you want to feel the heat in the Valley, sign up now.
4. Courtyard Spinning in Santa Monica
At the Santa Monica Bay Club, outdoor spaces have been reconfigured as open-air fitness studios. You can take a HIIT class in the courtyard, a vinyasa flow class in another area or a spin class in the shady Serenity Garden. And don't worry about the noise—each socially distant class member is wearing their own wireless headphones, so even with the obligatory thumping beat, the garden stays serene.
5. Rooftop Sunset Yoga in DTLA
Want the best first date possible during the days of a socially distant L.A.? Meet cute at the Thursday sunset class of rooftop yoga from Sanctuary Fitness. On the roof of the Row shopping and dining complex, you'll find 50 people spreading out their mats a respectful six feet from one another (there are suggested positions marked off in tape), wearing their masks as they flow through a not-too-jarring series of downward dogs and stretches. There's not too many awkward poses or ab series to make you look bad, and when the workout's over, you can stick around to watch the sun dip behind the buildings downtown. The crowd is hip, there's Billie Eilish playing and in your well-stretched bliss, you can remember how sweet L.A. life can be.
6. Afro Fusion Dance in Santa Monica
Are you all about the rhythm? Then jump into "the Heart Dancer Experience." It's a weekly Wednesday night dance class held on the lawn of Ocean View Park in Santa Monica, and veteran dancer and teacher Abagail Fritz leads a class of decidedly non-dancers—there are people here with tummies and booties and all kinds of mortal body shapes—through the funnest and funkiest routine with elements of African classical and street dance. Not experienced in this musical genre? Hit Abagail up privately via her web site first to get your basic moves down.
7. Paddleboard Yoga in Marina Del Rey
You don't need to be an especially good yogi, or even have any experience in stand up paddleboarding, to enjoy Yogaqua, the hour-long yoga class that's performed on the open water. Simply meet in your mask in the parking lot of a marina in Marina Del Rey or in Ventura, get 10 minutes of instruction and then before you know it, you're taking your place in a semi-circle of people dropping anchor in a calm cove, using muscles you never knew you had to balance on one leg on a wobbly paddleboard. A mildly-paced flow follows, with time for some inversions if you're feeling show-offy. Our advice: Take a friend, the better to get snaps of one another in the act.
8. Dmn8 Circuit Training in Various Locations
Get ready to see pods of a dozen or so people working out in the parks of Santa Monica staying socially distant, each with her own mat, dumbbells and booty band. It's part of the master plan of 28-year-old go-getter, Aussie-born lifeguard and techpretreneur Eddy Roche. In December 2019 Eddy founded DMN8 as an outdoor group fitness studio and in less than six months, he grew the community to more than 350 members in multiple locations (Santa Monica, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks, Hermosa Beach and Culver City, with seven more locations coming soon) with a staff of 15 trainers and projected sales of more than $100,000 annually. And the workouts? They're 50-minute circuit classes or yoga (we recommend Tushy Tuesday to tone your stone thighs).
9. Yoga and Spin in Silverlake
Hype Silverlake has sun-shaded its outdoor area for what it's calling "Parking Lot Pumpin," a series of their most popular classes, held daily from 5 to 10 p.m. Besides a great vibe and attentive teachers, the sell here is the seamless service: You can buy mats at bulk cost at the door ($5 to $10) and wireless headphones ($40) if you want to take one of the classes that uses those to stay within noise ordinances. So there's no excuse not to just jump in to fitness again, East siders.
10. Parking Lot Pilates on Pico
Great news, friends: Tribe Pilates has moved a couple Pilates Reformers into a covered section of the parking lot, so there's an opportunity to take a one-on-one class with an instructor from six feet away. All the personal attention is a great way to make sure you're using the props of Pilates, from balls to bands to straps and platforms, correctly. Bonus: There are also mat classes offered in Palisades Park.